1988 FA Cup Final

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1988 FA Cup Final
Event1987–88 FA Cup
Date14 May 1988 (1988-05-14)
VenueWembley Stadium, London
RefereeBrian Hill (Northamptonshire)

The 1988 FA Cup Final was the 107th final of the FA Cup. It took place on 14 May 1988 at Wembley Stadium and was contested between Wimbledon and Liverpool, the dominant English club side of the 1980s and newly crowned league champions.[1][2]

In one of the biggest shocks in the history of the competition, Lawrie Sanchez' solitary goal of the game won Wimbledon their only FA Cup final win in their history; they had just completed their second season in the Football League First Division and had only been in the Football League for 11 years.[3][4] The final also featured the first penalty save in an FA Cup final, by Dave Beasant from John Aldridge. Beasant is often mistakenly believed to have been the first goalkeeper to captain a winning side in an FA Cup Final but this honour falls to Major William Merriman of the Royal Engineers who captained his side to victory in 1875.[5] It was the last FA Cup final to be broadcast by both the BBC and ITV, which had happened since 1958. Wimbledon's victory ended Liverpool's bid to become the first team to win the Double twice,[6][7] a feat that was eventually achieved by rivals Manchester United in 1996 and Arsenal in 1998. The game was the last that former England international Laurie Cunningham would ever play in England, before his death in 1989.[8]

Road to Wembley



Round Opposition Score


Stoke City (A)

Stoke City (H)



4th Aston Villa (A) 0–2
5th Everton (A) 0–1
QF Manchester City (A) 0–4
SF Nottingham Forest (N) 2–1
Key: (H) = Home venue; (A) = Away venue; (N) = Neutral venue.


Round Opposition Score
3rd West Bromwich Albion (H) 4–1
4th Mansfield Town (A) 1–2
5th Newcastle United (A) 1–3
QF Watford F.C. (H) 2–1
SF Luton Town (N) 2–1
Key: (H) = Home venue; (A) = Away venue; (N) = Neutral venue.

The build up

Liverpool were the winners of Division One and were the giants of England in the 1980s. Wimbledon finished seventh in the table but were expected to finish much lower than that position. Liverpool were highly expected and favoured to win the trophy as they had just secured their 17th league title, whereas Wimbledon had been playing in the Southern Football League just eleven years earlier and were given very little hope of lifting the trophy.

Match summary

Wimbledon took the lead shortly before half-time, when Lawrie Sanchez's looping header, from a Dennis Wise free kick on the left, went across goalkeeper Bruce Grobbelaar and into the net.[10] Liverpool created a host of chances, including a chipped goal over the goalkeeper by Peter Beardsley which was disallowed as the referee had already awarded a free kick to Liverpool, but were unable to find a way past Wimbledon goalkeeper Dave Beasant. The Merseysiders were awarded a penalty on the hour mark following a foul by Clive Goodyear on John Aldridge, though replays showed that Goodyear won the ball cleanly, but Aldridge's penalty was saved by Beasant's diving save to his left, thus Beasant became the first keeper to save a penalty in a Wembley FA Cup final.[11] The Londoners survived more pressure from Liverpool to secure their first major trophy and a notable upset in FA Cup Final history. Dave Beasant also became the first goalkeeper to receive the FA Cup as captain.[disputed][12][13] After the final whistle John Motson who was commentating for the BBC delivered his famous line: "The Crazy Gang have beaten the Culture Club."[14]


Wimbledon were unable to compete in the 1988–89 European Cup Winners' Cup, due to the ongoing ban on English teams from European competitions, following the actions of a group of Liverpool supporters in the 1985 European Cup Final Heysel disaster. At the time of the final, it was hoped that the ban would be rescinded, but after a number of incidents involving English fans during the 1988 European Championships, the FA withdrew their application for readmission.[citation needed]

Match details

Report Sanchez Goal 37'
Attendance: 98,203
Referee: Brian Hill
GK 1 Zimbabwe Bruce Grobbelaar
RB 4 Scotland Steve Nicol
CB 2 Scotland Gary Gillespie
CB 6 Scotland Alan Hansen (c)
LB 3 England Gary Ablett
RM 9 Republic of Ireland Ray Houghton
CM 5 England Nigel Spackman Substituted off 74'
CM 11 England Steve McMahon
LM 10 England John Barnes
CF 7 England Peter Beardsley
CF 8 Republic of Ireland John Aldridge Substituted off 64'
MF 12 Australia Craig Johnston Substituted in 64'
MF 14 Denmark Jan Mølby Substituted in 74'
Scotland Kenny Dalglish
GK 1 England Dave Beasant (c)
RB 2 England Clive Goodyear
CB 5 Wales Eric Young
CB 6 England Andy Thorn
LB 3 Republic of Ireland Terry Phelan
CM 10 Northern Ireland Lawrie Sanchez
CM 4 Wales Vinnie Jones
RW 8 England Alan Cork Substituted off 56'
LW 11 England Dennis Wise
CF 7 England Terry Gibson Substituted off 63'
CF 9 England John Fashanu
DF 12 England John Scales Substituted in 63'
MF 14 England Laurie Cunningham Substituted in 56'
England Bobby Gould

Match rules

  • 90 minutes
  • 30 minutes of extra-time if necessary
  • Replay if scores still level
  • Two named substitutes
  • Maximum of two substitutions

See also


  1. ^ Phillips-Knight, Rob (12 May 2010). "Beasant and the 'Crazy Gang' stun Liverpool". Archived from the original on 21 July 2011. Retrieved 24 June 2011.
  2. ^ "English Division One 1987–1988 Final Table". Archived from the original on 17 August 2011. Retrieved 24 June 2011.
  3. ^ Beasant, Dave (15 May 2010). "14 May 1988: The first FA Cup final penalty save". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 24 June 2011.
  4. ^ "English FA Cup Finalists 1980 – 1989". Historical Football Kits. Retrieved 24 June 2011.
  5. ^ "Quirky Facts". Archived from the original on 31 October 2019. Retrieved 31 October 2019.
  6. ^ Hosking, Patrick; Wighton, David (14 March 2004). "Caught in Time: Wimbledon's Crazy Gang chase FA Cup glory in 1988". The Times. London. Retrieved 24 June 2011.
  7. ^ Reddy, Luke (4 January 2015). "Wimbledon v Liverpool: How the Crazy Gang made FA Cup history". BBC Sport. Retrieved 6 January 2015.
  8. ^ "Laurie Cunningham Player Statistics". Soccerbase. Retrieved 6 April 2020.
  9. ^ "FA Cup 1987–1988 : Results". Archived from the original on 14 July 2014. Retrieved 24 June 2011.
  10. ^ "Bobby Gould recalls Wimbledon's FA Cup win". Reuters. 13 May 2008. Retrieved 24 June 2011.
  11. ^ "Dave and his wombles may have done us a favor". Glasgow Herald. 16 May 1988. p. 12. Retrieved 10 October 2012.
  12. ^ "Classic Cup Finals: 1988". (The Football Association). Archived from the original on 7 May 2012. Retrieved 24 June 2011.
  13. ^ "Wimbledon's Crazy Gang prepared for 1988 FA Cup final against Liverpool with a night down the pub". Daily Telegraph. 4 January 2015. Retrieved 6 January 2015.
  14. ^ "When the Crazy Gang beat the Culture Club: Wimbledon v Liverpool FA Cup flashback". Liverpool Echo. 4 January 2015. Retrieved 6 January 2015.

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